There is a new review of GHOST / LANDSCAPE at Columbia Poetry Review:
And an interview about the book in The Cloudy House:
Today's poem is by Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher
The Museum of the Occupation
So, of course, you have to go in. And of course, each piece has
a card that reads "Give Me Back" beneath it, but, as you're
reading it, it's not clear if it's directed at you or if it's just a
subtle reminder that each brick of the city was forged in a
different world, by different workers, with their different
dreams and hopes who were later to be shot and lined in rows
to illustrate the garden plot, where the hedge will one day go.
It's April. There's a woodpecker letting loose somewhere
down the block. The museum windows are open, which
makes it seem the woodpecker is right next to you. But
instead, you've just this floorplan with the guard rotation
schedule and a cyanide pill in case you're captured, and the
questions get too complicated, where you forget to carry the
ten, and they implore you to take a light rest, maybe some
lemonade. "I Remember" is the title of the travelling
exhibition you came expressly to see, and it's still here, which
is surprising, as usually by the time you get to these things
they've gone on to Cincinnati. It's never really Cincinnati,
though. When we say Cincinnati we just mean we're going to
die soon, that the weather's looking bad.
BY KRISTINA MARIE DARLING AND JOHN GALLAHER
BlazeVOX Books (Feb. 14, 2016)
June 24, 2016
Two people talking about the weather has never been so insightful or enlightening. Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher’s astounding Ghost / Landscape’s show that talking about the weather doesn’t have to be awkward filler. The book moves like poetry while still functioning as prose, and integrates a narrative, suspense, and an unrequited love story into one wonderful whole.
Leaping around in time, the book is divided into chapters, beginning in the midst of things and ending at the beginning with chapter one. Even more intriguing are the chapters named after an emotion or event. Among these are “The Chapter On Regret,” “The Chapter On Museums,” and “The Chapter On Houseguests.” Surprisingly specific, these chapters name their subjects; call them out even, as it becomes clear that the book is obsessed with the weight of names and titles. The speaker asks, “What is a conversation but an attempt to make sense of objects, to dig them out from beneath their seemingly endless names?” and continues on, “How could you call that darkened room nostalgia, as though naming something isn’t a kind of violence?”
In a blunt tone, the speaker builds the world, word-by-word, bringing it into being. Both by naming objects and then dispelling their title, Ghost / Landscape depicts an image, a setting, a landscape and then destroys it all together, creating something new out of its dust. In this narrative world, shattered glass and phantom music are the background of many scenes, a murder does or doesn’t happen, a ghost can quickly become, or perhaps always was, a birthday cake, and a parking lot is renamed “something springy, because we don’t really like parking lots all that much.”
Darling and Gallaher prove that something can become anything. Words are used as a grounding device in reality and then given a rebirth as something else entirely. The poets’ voices blend together magically, where topics are seamlessly shuffled around mid-phrase and the two voices disappear under one consistent tone. Teaching readers how to read the book, the speaker explains, “I’ve always had a fondness for the absurd. Like playing two radio stations at once.” This duality between themes and authors creates an interesting tension throughout, where every thought, feeling, and chapter feels both supported by its surroundings and disputed by what precedes or follows.